WICHITA, Kan—Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc., recently joined with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® to unveil Polaris, a digital engineering and advanced assembly demonstrator that was used to validate improvements in product development from initial design to final assembly. The announcement was made at an event on August 10 in Palmdale, California, Spirit AeroSystems said in a release.
“Spirit AeroSystems is proud we were selected by Lockheed Martin to demonstrate the integration of a Tier 1 supplier into their Integrated Digital Environment (IDE), and then utilize that environment to validate advanced production processes on a demonstration platform,” said Duane Hawkins, senior vice president, Spirit AeroSystems, and president, defense and space division, in the release. “The IDE and its advanced production processes, including Full Size-Hole Determinant Assembly (FSDA), will form the foundation of how future defense programs are executed, and revolutionize the speed at which new products can be brought to market.”
The Spirit Defense and Space Division is said to have integrated commercial best practices around digital design and manufacturing seamlessly into the Lockheed Martin IDE. This enabled “the collaborative development of production-ready solutions that build on the strengths of both the Spirit AeroSystems and Lockheed Martin teams,” according to the release.
“This reduced project execution cost and time by enabling parallel engineering development and operations planning, facilitating the team’s ability to clearly communicate and ensure consistency of requirements, and to identify integration challenges before parts and tools were ever released for fabrication,” Hawkins said in the release.
This integration allows design and production optimization to occur simultaneously instead of as sequential discreet events, enabling production programs to progress down the learning curve prior to first-unit build. Advanced production processes were designed, planned, simulated, executed, and validated as a result of the collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Spirit AeroSystems. This led to a 70 percent reduction in required assembly hours and a 95 percent increase in initial quality, according to Spirit AeroSystems.